Sonia Shiel’s far-fetched works are vested in melodrama, special effect and various traditions of storytelling. They are composed of individual paintings and sculptures, including videos and animated sculptures, that share the central materiality of paint. Set in ungoverned, lawless environments: the wild west; the high seas, the animal kingdom and so on – her protagonists in their various pursuits, are confronted by nature, mortality, the mockery of chance, rules and other obstacles of their own creation. Idyllic scenes of industry, nature and society are underscored with preposterous violence, the inflated caricature of cartoons and the supra-governance of a natural law.
Sonia Shiel was born and lives in Dublin. She has had solo exhibitions at The Oonagh Young Gallery, Dublin; The Model, Sligo; Temple Bar Gallery and Studios; Kulturbunker, Frankfurt; Centre Culturel Irlandais, Paris and The RHA Gallery I and II, Dublin, among others. Forthcoming Solo Shows include FLOOD, Dublin; The Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin; Program Gallery/Foundation for Contemporary Art, Warsaw; Volta, New York and the Kevin Kavanagh Gallery, Dublin. Recipient of the Arts Council Project Award, Shiel will participate in the 2014 Art and Law Program at Fordham Law School.
Residents from Ireland
Olaf Brzeski’s practice is rooted in surrealist visions, which he puts into life via film, three-dimensional sculptures and installations. His comments about his own works do not so much mirror his personal interpretation, but narrate fictional stories, illustrated in the artworks or, in fact, made believable through the existence of the latter. This is the way in which Brzeski generates new worlds and their inhabitants.
Residents from Poland
John Barrett-Lennard is interested in relationships between a sense of centeredness and of transience, states of in-betweenness and contemporary hyper-mobility. His current projects consider the spaces between locatedness (often tied to place, origins, accent or cultural history) and cosmopolitanism. He is keen to explore the distance between particular and focused contexts, and larger forces, changes, dispersed networks and widely shared experiences. His curatorial work may take the form of projects with individual artists, group or thematic exhibitions and of critical writing in a range of settings. They often involve consideration of influences and conjunctions, and how these are mediated, reinterpreted and represented by artists and institutions, both in the arts and in wider social settings.
John Barrett-Lennard is a freelance art curator and writer. He has wide experience gained over nearly three decades, curating a broad range of innovative projects in contemporary art and art museum settings as well as in non-traditional and public spaces. He has been responsible for curating major national exhibitions, including the Australian pavilion at the Biennale of Venice and the Adelaide Biennial of Australian Art. As a gallery director he has led a major contemporary art space and two large university art museums. He initiated ARX, Australia’s first major exchange project involving Australian and SE Asian artists. He is also an Adjunct Associate Professor in the art history program at the University of Western Australia. He lives and was born in Perth though completed much of his education in Canada.